Evil is an Oily Bullshit Artist! “The Greasy Strangler” review!


Ronnie, the owner of a Disco walking tour, works and lives alongside his hectored son, Big Brayden. Their disheveled and bigoted relationship becomes upended by the enticing Janet. With big eyes and an endless amount of sexual drive, Janet swoons the virginal Big Brayden that urges him to become his own man against a criticizing father, but when Ronnie sees an opportunity to swoop in and steal Janet under his son’s nose, the proclaimed disco king of Los Angeles ups the charm and bed’s Janet with little resistance. A back-and-forth ensues between a hopeless, if not hapless, romantic and his sexually aggressive, A-typical personality father for top dog. Meanwhile, those who even cross Ronnie in the faintest ends up brutally murdered by an inhuman killer lathered completely in grease, dubbed The Greasy Strangler, and the aberrant love triangle just might be related to the recent spike in deaths at the hands of the oleaginous murderer!

Just one big corn ball of engrossing black comedy horror, “The Greasy Strangler” is a one of a kind Jim Hosking directed film of abnormal quality and sensational crude storytelling of a father and son rivalry to rekindling with a greased up suited killer in between to connect them. Co-written with Toby Harvard, “The Greasy Strangler” marks the fourth project between Harvard and Hosking and the turnout is laugh out loud funny. The penning and pair filmmakers write scintillating characters with socially disapproving norms accepted in a cinematic universe that can only be imagined by the disturbed. “The Greasy Strangler” is the Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim version of a Wes Anderson film that can only be described as grotesque in content with an unflattering dry, if not something bathroom, humor and will not likely be accepted by the majority of popcorn audiences as their typical brand or cup of lard lavished tea. The horror element to all of this is a greased up manic strangling tourists and shearing the heads off blind car wash owners, but very much has a backseat the dynamic between Ronnie, Brayden, and Janet.

“The Greasy Strangler” revolves around the special relationship between father and son, Big Ronnie and Big Brayden. The disco passionate and pathological storytelling-embellisher Ronnie has an immensely rock solid hard on for any and all things that are greasy, oilier the better, and cathartically browbeats his adult aged son to the point of nowhere being near the parent of the year for years to come. “The Video Dead’s” Michael St. Michaels has an absolute screen presence. The Doc Brown hair and a wiry frame complete the compiled shell of a man to which a flaming ball of disgruntled and disillusioned kinetic and emotional energy calls home. Michaels’ oozing and brazen confidence equals Ronnie’s slimy thirst for internal and external grease addiction. Ronnie supports his 40-year-old something son, Brayden, ever since his wife parted ways for a fellow with ripped abdominal muscles, as Brayden would frequently state. Brayden’s the epitome of what a 40-year-old virgin should look like and not how Hollywood depicted the persona with Steve Carell. The stringy, greasy hair, unkempt physique, and a personality that’s stagnant with naïve humility, Sky Elobar (actor in the upcoming Tony Todd starring film “Candy Corn”) envelops himself as the big man child that is Big Brayden who doesn’t have much self-worth in life until a forward young woman, on one of Ronnie’s Disco Walking Tours, enchants Brayden with flirtatious eyes. Those eye below to Elizabeth De Razzo, the actress who portrayed the subjugated Stevie’s baby mama on Danny McBride’s “Eastbound & Down,” as Janet, the Rootie-Tootie Disco Cutie that causes an upheaval between Ronnie and Brayden’s already ragged relationship. From the HBO comedy series to the “The Greasy Strangler,” Razza has a knack for off-color comedy, exploiting routinely awkward circumstances to Janet’s advantage that wedge the father and son apart and amusing herself as a selfishly sexual and shameless monkey wrench. The remaining cast of colorful character actors include Gil Gex (“Dangerous Men”), Abdoulaye MGom, Holland MacFallister, Sam Dissanayake, and Joe David Walters.

Distasteful visuals enfilade the eyeballs that include one head-to-toe greased up strangler, two half naked speedo-sporting father and son duo, and three overly grotesque, if not a toon like whimsicality of genitals, but don’t worry, Ronnie’s mongoose-sized penis, Brayden’s shrimpy penis, and Janet’s afro-tastic bush are 100% prosthetics. The trade is with that is the actors are practically half nude for about half the film with Big Ronnie dangling his artificial junk from the spinning brushes of the drive-in car wash to the antiquated funky disco dance floor. In all honesty, the prosthetic take a backseat to the ingenious quirky comedy from Hosking and Harvard and with all the oddball body language, the bizarro back and forth banter, and witnessing Michael St. Michaels in a crude suit of grease is special enough.

MVDVisual and FilmRise present “The Greasy Strangler” onto a full HD, 1808p, special director’s edition Blu-ray in a widescreen, 1.85:1 aspect ratio format. Shot with an Arri Alexa camera, the digital image is super crisp and benevolently engrossing despite the explicit content of the narrative. Hardly any digital noise and colors pop with full flavor. The English 5.1 Dolby Digital track is prime steak, utterly tender when chewing and overly filling when done. Dialogue is balanced at the forefront while ambient tracks are equally subdued in tandem. Andrew Hung’s complete “The Greasy Strangler” score, a genetic makeup of nerdy synthesizing discordance, could be rendered as an upstaging character in itself. Extras on the release include an audio commentary with director Jim Hoskins and stars Michael St. Michaels and Sky Elobar, cast and crew interviews about the zany narrative and their opinions on the the zany characters, and the theatrical trailer. Kooky, full frontal, and the most unique best film I’ve ever seen, Jim Hoskins’ “The Greasy Strangler” has a bold and uninhibited cast full of character and full of oldfangled taste that dovetails with a too cool for school attitude and doesn’t give a horse shit about its unconventional cinematic discourse and anatomy. A must, must see cult classic!

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Evil Spanning Four Decades! “Dangerous Men” review!

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Recently engaged lovers Daniel and Mina take a trip to visit Daniel’s brother. When they stop to take in one of California’s breathtaking beaches, two vicious bikers, looking for kicks, intrude on the lovebird’s romantic getaway, looking to rape Mina but ending up mercilessly murdering Daniel. Mina’s grief turns the distraught lover into a vengeful bitch, taking the lives of all salacious and beastly men who wish to exploit Mina’s virginal beauty. Meanwhile, Daniel’s brother, a praised police detective, personally takes on the case despite his Captain’s insistence of not getting to close due to his personal connection. The detective tracks down the drug dealer Black Pepper, the head of a notorious biker gang connected to the slaying of his brother, that results in an all out war!
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“Dangerous Men” is an action film you hate to love, being so bad it’s good. The film was the non-aborted child of Iranian born, U.S. bound director John Rad, a pseudo name, who had a life-long vision from way back in 1979 to put an eternal awesomeness on the big silver screen and, in one way or another, completed that feat no matter how long the creative process. Only 26 years stood in between John Rad and his masterpiece “Dangerous Men” from being completed and theatrically released to the public, but, low and behold, “Dangerous Men” didn’t succeed into billions or even millions of box office dollars; instead, Rad’s film gained popularity in its notoriety, gaining almost instantly cult status through a niche group of garbage cinema aficionados. By the grace of the provocative arthouse film brew masters at Drafthouse Films and their continuous begging toward Rad’s daughter, “Dangerous Men” redefines the term guilty pleasure.
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But what makes “Dangerous Men” so irresistibly appealing? Is it that fact that Iranian born Peter Palian from “Samurai Cop” fame is the most experienced crew member on John Rad’s amateurish, if not solo performing, team? To properly answer that conundrum-filled riddle, looking at what makes “Dangerous Men” so standardly terrible would ultimately lead to the answer. For one, a prominent lead character doesn’t exist in a plot that can’t focus due in part of the two decades the film was shot that resulted in the actors or actresses not being available or unwilling to complete Rad’s work. Various characters, like Mina (Melody Wiggins) or the cop brother (Dutch Van Delsem), come and go in their respective, decade housed plot paths and like one of Drafthouse Films’s bonus features makes light, the film ends on a still frame of characters who have had less than half an hour of screen time. Secondly, the amateur acting in exposition, the cut and dry editing, and the cartoonish foley, by the also writer-director John Rad, hones straight toward gut-punching you to explode into outrageous, painful laughter. “Dangerous Men” is a serious film that’s full of wacky action and some great moments of exploitation, especially scenes involving women knees, but when all the punching and exasperating is of the identical sound bite, like in a “Street Fighter” video game, taking Rad’s film seriously is hard to fathom. Thirdly, the longevity of filming created many production goofs that mistakenly implied the decade. From props, to haircuts, and to clothes, hints of years were obvious to the naked eye. Lastly, a title like “Dangerous Men” should end on an detonative high note; instead, falls just short of a chuckle and a “WTF.”
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“Dangerous Men” snuggly finds a spot within the realm of other bad movies not to be missed. “Troll 2,” “Silent Night, Deadly NIght 2” with the infamous garbage day line, “Leonard Part 6,” and “Jaws: The Revenge” would gladly welcome “Dangerous Men” with open arms as a peer in preposterousness. With a little over a measly $2,300 in ticket sales on opening weekend from a film that probably cost John Rad thousands upon thousands of dollars to produce and a whole hell of a lot of time to construct, “Dangerous Men” is most likely an action-packed feature you’ve never, ever heard of before. One positive remark is the soundtrack, which is also composed by John Rad, was, in my humble opinion, swanky and, well, rad – a true testament to the era and the best effort for such bad film. Unfortunately, John Rad never saw his film blossom as he died soon after the release of his masterpiece, sometime mysteriously between 2005 and 2007.
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Drafthouse Films, in association with MVDVisual distribution, courteously releases “Dangerous Men” on a sleek not rated two-disc, 1080p 1.85:1 widescreen Blu-ray and DVD set which has a region free presentation that still manages to hold in the cigarette burns and the faded coloring in a sort of time capsule from the 80’s and 90’s. The original print looks to have been kept in good condition for an easy upgradeable and cleanable transfer. The Dolby Digital mono stereo mix is fairly clean aside from some misaligned dialogue tracks with the video and the prevalence of background noise in certain scenes of poor record quality such as the Daniel and Mina restaurant scene. Drafthouse Films doesn’t discriminate amongst the quality of their releases when considering the bonus features. A 16 page booklet featuring documented full-length interviews with director John Rad, audio commentary featuring “Destroy All Movies” authors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly, “That’s So Rad,” an epigram stemmed from this film, is an original documentary about the film and its initial 2005 release, an interview with cinematographer Peter Palian, Rare footage of John Rad’s appearance on local access television, and the original theatrical trailer. Quite the laundry list of extras! “Dangerous Men” is so spectacularly unspeakable and trashy it shouldn’t go unseen for absolutely anything, not even for the birth of your first born child!